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Christian Freedoms

It has been announced recently that the European Court of Human Rights will hear the cases of Shirley Chaplin and Gary McFarlane. Both of these individuals have been penalised at work because they did not want to compromise their Christian faith.

After nearly 30 years in nursing, Shirley was asked to remove the small cross that she had worn since her confirmation. Her refusal led to her being banned from hospital wards despite the fact that employees of other religions were allowed to wear items associated with their faith. An employment tribunal failed to support her and she was removed from frontline nursing.

When asked on a training course how he would feel about giving sex therapy to a homosexual couple, Gary, a relationships counsellor, replied that he might have a conscientious objection. He was subsequently dismissed, a decision that the tribunal upheld.

It is hard to over-emphasize the importance of these cases. The British courts have so far failed to uphold such freedoms. It is crucial that the European Court reaches a different conclusion. The outcome will have profound implications for the freedoms of Christians and others, not only in the UK but across Europe. It will also be closely watched by nations around the world.

As part of the legal process, the Prime Minister, on behalf of the British Government, must make a statement on the cases to the European court by 30th September. It is vital that he makes a strong, bold declaration in support of Christian freedoms. Please help us make sure that he knows just how much those freedoms are valued by sending one of the enclosed postcards to him and encouraging others to do the same. Simple add your name, address and a stamp – and pop it in the post-box.